The National League All-Stars trail 1-0 after four innings in the Midsummer Classic, and much like the Nationals, the lack of offense has been an issue for the NL squad tonight.
Only one National League hitter has reached base tonight - Carlos Beltran - and the NL squad wasn’t able to make anything of that lone opportunity, even after pinch-runner Andrew McCutchen stole second base.
Facing White Sox left-hander Chris Sale, arguably one of the toughest southpaws in the game right now, Bryce Harper lined out to third in the third inning in what will likely be his only at-bat of the All-Star Game.
Harper battled in the at-bat, getting ahead 2-0 and then smacking a 2-2 pitch hard to the left side. It was right at Miguel Cabrera, however, and Cabrera easily gloved it for the out.
I’d be shocked if Harper stayed in the game long enough to get another at-bat, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. The 20-year-old could probably use a nice rest after all the monster hacks he took last night in the Home Run Derby.
The American League trio of Max Scherzer, Sale and Felix Hernandez has completely dominated the NL hitters early on, in a game where runs have been at a premium.
Update: Harper ended up getting a second at-bat tonight, and for the second time, the ball didn’t leave the infield.
Facing Athletics reliever Grant Balfour, Harper popped out to short for the first out of the sixth.
Harper has been replaced by Carlos Gomez starting the top of the seventh inning, so that will do it for the Nationals involved in the All-Star Game this year. Jordan Zimmermann - the only other Nats All-Star selection - is sitting out the game due to neck stiffness.
The NL trails 2-0 after six and still has just one hit thus far.
With teams now turning to their late-inning, hard-throwing relievers, the hits and runs might be even tougher to notch at this point.
Update II: Three hits was all the National League All-Stars could muster tonight in a 3-0 loss in the Midsummer Classic.
As a result, home field advantage in the World Series will go to the winner of the American League pennant.
Mariano Rivera’s perfect inning of work was probably the highlight of the night, even if that inning came in the eighth and not the ninth. It was pretty darn cool to see both dugouts empty and have all players and coaches stand and applaud all that Rivera has accomplished in his career.
All the guys who played tonight will now have two days off to rest up and get ready for the second half. Game 1 of the World Series will not be played at Nats Park, and the Nats have plenty of work to do to get to the Series at all.